Archive for January, 2013

What We’re Reading 1-25-13

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Great Gray Owl - Michael Furtman

Texas isn’t the only winter destination for birding. Welcome to the Sax-Zim Bog in northern Minnesota, home of the Great Grey Owl, the Black-backed Woodpecker, the Bohemian Waxwing and other rare Boreal species.

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Paper Sculpture by Eric Standley

Eric Standley has taken the art of paper cutting into three dimensions. With the help of a precision laser, he creates sculptures that combine the complexity of Celtic ornament with medieval stained glass.

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Territorial Morphology

Whole Earthlings love to travel and so are quite fond of maps. Big Think’s About Strange Maps blog is one of our favorites. This week, Frank Jacobs suggests a fun parlor game for cartophiles!

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Alfred Russell Wallace portrait, 1900

Alfred Russell Wallace is finally getting his due. He developed a theory of natural selection based on his work as a naturalist in Malaysia, but Charles Darwin won the race for glory.


This is yet another in a series of posts about what we’re reading at Whole Earth: stories about the environment, ecology, travel, outdoor living, ideas, art, writing, history, science, and creativity, and the people who make it happen. Have a suggestion? Please leave us a comment so we can add it to our reading list.

Archeolympics 2013

6th Annual Archeolympics: 2/9/13 10am - 4:45pm at Seminole Canyon State Park

Have you ever thrown an Atlatl or a Rabbit Stick? Do you have the strength and patience to build a friction fire? If so, you may want to head out to Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site for the Sixth Annual Archeolympics. The competition is open to all and is focused on having fun while learning about the ancient life ways of the Archaic peoples of the Trans-Pecos region three to four thousand years ago.

An Atlatl is an ancient hunting device used to hunt deer and other large animals. A Rabbit Stick is a boomerang-like weapon used to hunt small animals like rabbits. At the Archeolympics you can learn how to use them and even take part in the competitions if you’d like. Atlatls and Rabbit Sticks will be available for public use. (Please note: the competitions use targets, not critters!) There will also be demonstrations of friction fire-starting, but competitors must bring their own equipment and kindling. Other demonstrations include flint-knapping and rope making using native plants. You can also take part in scheduled tours to visit some of the famed rock art sites in the Park. An archaeologist will be on hand to answer your questions about the ancient people and their artifacts. Representatives from Las Moras Frontier Living History group will tell you about life in the Trans Pecos during the Frontier era, and Rock Art Foundation guides will lead tours to selected rock art sites.

The Archeolympics take place on Saturday, February 9th from 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. at Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site.

A schedule of the day’s events is available by calling Seminole Canyon State Park and Historic Site.

Rules and Regulations for the event have been posted by the Texas Atlatl Association.

What We’re Reading 1-18-13

The number 30 factored.

We were mesmerized this week by Data Pointed’s Animated Factorization Diagrams. You might also enjoy paying a visit to the Data Pointed site where you can find other inspiring mathematical visualizations.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s illustration of Smaug from The Hobbit

Forbes has calculated the value of Smaug’s hoard!
See how he stacks up against Montgomery C. Burns, Jed Clampitt, Bruce Wayne and other fictional fat cats in the Forbes Fictional 15.

Analemma printed on a globe from the Globe Museum in Vienna via Wikipedia

It’s been almost a month since the Solstice. Why is it still so dark out in the mornings? The New York Times gives us the elliptical answer.


This is yet another in a series of posts about what we’re reading at Whole Earth: stories about the environment, ecology, travel, outdoor living, ideas, art, writing, history, science, and creativity, and the people who make it happen. Have a suggestion? Please leave us a comment so we can add it to our reading list.

2012 Kids Toy and Book Drive a Huge Success!

Our 1st New Toy and Kids Book Drive supplied Texas children with toys and books during the holiday season.


A REWARDING EXPERIENCE
2012 Kids Toy and Book Drive a Huge Success!

During the holiday season just past it was wonderful to see so many of Whole Earth Provision Company’s patrons bring an item to our collection bins in all our stores for our 2012 Kids Toy and Book Drive. We are reminded once again that Whole Earth has the finest, most generous customers in Texas! Thanks to hundreds of you who contributed to this effort. You are the best!

Shown above is Max Kokinda of our Quarry Market location in San Antonio presenting a collection of brand new books and toys to a representative of that store’s beneficiary, The Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas. Similar presentations also occurred in Houston to the Star of Hope Mission; in Dallas to the Community Partners of Dallas; and to Manos de Cristo in Austin.

We trust that many boys and girls experienced a much more nurtured holiday than would have been the case without this heartwarming multi-community effort.

What We’re Reading 1-11-13

Science on a Sphere Image

Science on a Sphere - NY Times


Take a look at the latest digital wonder: Science on a Sphere. Terrestrial data becomes dynamic as currents flow, weather systems move, Pangaea divides, oceans heat and cool and airplanes fly across a digital Earth.

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Stephen Hawking - Wikipedia Commons


Tuesday was Stephen Hawking’s 71st birthday. To celebrate, Brainpickings posted Errol Morris’ documentary on Hawking “A Brief History of Time”. Previously available only on battered VHS tapes and DVD’s, Morris has made the film available online for free.

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Webster Dictionary - Bradley University


Tomahawk, lengthy, caucus and spry are just a few of the dangerous words Noah Webster included in his 1828 dictionary. From an excerpt published by Delancey Street from Jill Lepore’s The Story of America, “A Nue Merrykin Dikshunary.”


This is yet another in a series of posts about what we’re reading at Whole Earth: stories about the environment, ecology, travel, outdoor living, ideas, art, writing, history, science, and creativity, and the people who make it happen. Have a suggestion? Please leave us a comment so we can add it to our reading list.

What We’re Reading 1-4-13


In 1883, Mexican astronomer Jose Bonilla saw a large number of mysterious objects pass in front of the sun. Explanations at the time included birds and UFOs, but a new analysis of the data suggests that fragments from a billion ton comet buzzed Earth.


At the end of the year, The New York Times runs a special feature called “The Lives They Lived” highlighting the lives of a few of our fellow travelers who passed on during the year. Here you’ll find stories that celebrate, inspire and give us food for thought.


Did you make any resolutions for the New Year? Woody Guthrie made 33 resolutions back in 1942. You may want to borrow a few from his list.


This is yet another in a series of posts about what we’re reading at Whole Earth: stories about the environment, ecology, travel, outdoor living, ideas, art, writing, history, science, and creativity, and the people who make it happen. Have a suggestion? Please leave us a comment so we can add it to our reading list.

Celebrating J.R.R. Tolkien

Photo Credit: Rime Jos Dielis

Trees with Rime Jos Dielis

Today, January 3rd, Elves, Hobbits, Dwarves, Ents and Men of Middle Earth celebrate their chronicler’s birthday – J.R.R. Tolkien, if were he still among us, would be 121 years old today. Tolkien’s love of the natural world shines through his writings about Middle Earth. He insisted that Middle Earth was in fact our world. In this letter to his son Christopher from late December 1944, he describes moments of Elvish beauty in his own back garden:

“The weather has for me been one of the chief events of Christmas. It froze hard with a heavy fog, and so we have had displays of Hoarfrost such as I only remember once in Oxford before and only twice in my life. One of the most lovely events of Northern Nature. We woke (late) on St. Stephen’s Day to find all our windows opaque, painted over with frost patterns, and outside a dim silent misty world, all white but with a light jewelry of rime; every cobweb a little lace net, even the old fowls’ tent a diamond-patterned pavilion. …The rime yesterday was even thicker and more fantastic. When a gleam of sun (about 11) got through it was breathtakingly beautiful: trees like motionless fountains of white branching spray against a golden light and, high overhead, a pale translucent blue. It did not melt. About 11 p.m. the fog cleared and a high round moon lit the whole scene with a deadly white light: a vision of some other world or time. It was so still that I stood in the garden hatless and uncloaked without a shiver, though there must have been many degrees of frost.”

from Letter 94 in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien


This is one of an occasional series of posts celebrating the birthday and accomplishments of environmentalists, ecologists, travelers, adventurers, thinkers, artists, writers and scientists who have inspired us to a greater appreciation of and participation in life on planet Earth. Who has inspired you? Please let us know, so we can add them to our celebration list.

From the Archive: Sierra Designs, 1970

Whole Earth Provision Co. "From the Archives: Sierra Designs Cover, 1970"

When you’ve been in business for more than 40 years, there’s no telling what might turn up when you start going through forgotten boxes and filing cabinets. This charmer graced the cover of Sierra Design’s 1970 catalog. But what really caught our eye was the quote on page one from Rene Daumal’s Mount Analogue: A Novel of Symbolically Authentic Non-Euclidian Adventures in Mountain Climbing. Mount Analogue never made the bestseller list but is one of those treasured books passed along from friend to trusted friend for over 50 years.

Here’s the quote:You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again… So why bother in the first place? Just this: what is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.